Friday, September 27, 2013

Putting an eye splice in Spectra/Dyneema line: If I can do it, anybody can do it.

The vang puts high loads on hardware attached to the aft face of a mast.  This can cause failure as diaristson and I discovered during a recent regatta.  To avoid a repeat of this problem at the CMBA Nationals I decided to see if I could teach myself how to splice eyes into the ends of 4 mm twelve strand spectra line, sometimes called "spectwelve".  A spectra mesh strop, looped around the mas,t is SOP for the high ratio vangs on Europe dinghies. Borrowing this strategy would permit us to transfer the loads from the vang to the front face of the mast rather than to a fairlead attached to the aft face. An eye splice in spectwelve is similar to Chinese finger cuffs--the harder the pull, the harder the splice sets.  To keep the line from creeping up the front side of the mast I first fabricated and epoxied a small carbon cloth/G-10 fairlead to the front of the mast similar to the one John Z. taught us to make on an earlier post.  The only differences being that my fairlead has a hole large enough to pass the line through and John's craftsmanship is streets ahead of mine.
After a bit of web trolling I found a nice little youtube video by Steve Cockerill of Rooster Sailing Ltd.  As Steve explains, in order to make eye splices in Spectra one needs a pair of Swedish fids, one 4 mm the other 5.5 mm (that's 3/16" and 1/4" in old money), and a knife or pair of scissors capable of cleanly and safely cutting the line.  The fids are available from APS.  I used a razor box cutter to taper the tail of the line.  So, settle back with a brewski and learn this simple but very valuable skill.

You may have to copy/paste the URL for the video.  For some reason youtube wouldn't transfer it to this post.  Bottom line:  the strop I made stood up to the two days of racing in the 10-15  knot winds we encountered at this year's National Regatta at Elizabeth City last weekend.  In higher winds I suspect something else in the vang cascade will fail before these eye splices do.


  1. Never thought about attempting it until now. Thanks!

  2. It's VERY easy to do. Get a pair of fids, some spectra and watch the video a few times. You'll be eye splicing in no time.